Holiday Reading (2020)

The JMS team has some recommendations for books and TV series to check out during the vacation season!

If you’re looking for a last-minute gift for a military history buff or if you’re simply looking for a way to pass the time during the holidays, we’ve got tonnes of book recommendation for you! A few movie/TV recommendations too. Most of these books are available on kindle or e-readers, otherwise they are available in store.

Books

World War I

  • It Was the War of the Trenches (Jacques Tardi) – A graphic novel set in the trenches.
  • Le Dernier assaut : la vie de lieutenant Jean Brillant (Luc Bertrand) – Biography of a French Canadian Victoria Cross recipient (in French).
  • Paris 1919 (Margaret MacMillan) – An in-depth account of the events of the Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles.
  • Sister Soldiers of the Great War: The Nurses of the Canadian Army Medical Corps (Cynthia Toman) – You want to know more about Canadian nurses in WWI? This excellent book is available on Kindle and e-readers.
  • The Eleventh Hour (Jacques Goldstyn) -A graphic novel by a French-Canadian author. For young people but very charming for readers of all ages.
  • The First World War (John Keegan) – A comprehensive and captivating account of the history of the First World War.
  • The Secret History of Soldiers (Tim Cook) – An history book with the focus on the lives of everyday soldiers, from one of Canada’s foremost military historians.
Cover of "The First World War" by John Keegan.

Spanish Flu

  • The Last Plague: Spanish Influenza and the Politics of Public Health in Canada (Mark Osborne Humphries) – The history of the Spanish Flu in Canada!
  • Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World (Laura Spinney) – A well-researched history of the Spanish Flu by a talented storyteller.

World War II

  • Appeasement (Tim Bouverie) – Tells the story of the how the indecision, failed diplomacy and political infighting of the British government enabled Hitler’s rise.
  • Canada at War: A Graphic History of World War Two (Paul Keery) – A graphic history that traces the achievements of the Canadian Forces in WWII. Great for younger readers and adults alike.
  • D-Day Girls:  The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis and Helped Win WWII (Sarah Rose) – The riveting true story of British female spies.
  • Fighting for America:  Black Soldiers – the Unsung Heroes of WWII (Christopher Moore) – A very American perspective, but it’s always interesting to read about black soldiers and racial dynamics in the world wars!
  • Infographie de la Seconde Guerre mondiale (N. Aubin, V. Bernard, N. Guillerat) – A WWII brilliantly explained through infographics (in French).
  • Les tirailleurs sénégalais : les soldats noirs entre légendes et réalités (Julien Fargettas) – A very interesting part of the war too often ignored by Western historians.
Cover of "D-Day Girls" by Sarah Rose.

Films and teleseries

Films

  • 1917 (film, Sam Mendes) – Beautifully filmed, this recent film is definitely a new classic!
  • Jojo Rabbit (film, Taika Waititi) – An award-winning 2019 film about a young boy in the Hitler Youth who befriends a Jewish girl.
  • Letters from Iwo Jima (film, Clint Eastwood) – The Battle of Iwo Jima from the Japanese perspective.
  • Paths of Glory (film, Stanley Kubrick) – A 1957 classic!

Teleseries

  • Amour, haine et propaganda (series) – A documentary about the role of propaganda in WWII. Available on Radio-Canada (in French).
  • Charité (series, Dorothee Shön) – An excellent German series on Netflix. Season 2 takes place in a German hospital from 1943-1945.
  • The Man in the High Castle (series, Frank Spotnitz) – An alternate history wherein the Axis had won WWII.

Happy reading from the Je me souviens team!